Michael Vander Does, a fixture of the Columbus poetry scene for 35 years, is writing a new poem to perform with the French American Peace Ensemble (FAPE) in their performance at Shadowbox Live on June 18. The piece is tentatively titled “French American Piece – for Ensemble”. It explores themes embodied by the ensemble.
Vander Does emerged on the Columbus poetry scene in the late 1970s when he started the city’s Poetry in the Park program. He was responsible for Columbus’s only poetry traffic jam when he brought Allen Ginsberg to town in 1985. Ginsberg was responsible for Michael’s innovative Jazz Poetry Ensemble™ (JPE) when he suggested Michael combine his poetical and musical talents. Michael’s poem “Thannamattapoeia”, published and nominated for a Pushcart Prize by Tryst, is his tribute to Ginsberg on the occasion of his death.
In the years since 1985, Michael has presented his poetry primarily in the context of The Jazz Poetry Ensemble™. They have been a fixture at the Hot Times Festival since 1986 and at Comfest since 2005. The JPE website makejazznotwar.org fits well with the concept of the French American Peace Ensemble. Like François Tusques, one of the French members of FAPE, the JPE takes an activist stance in its work.
Much of Vander Does’s work deals with metaphors related to jazz and how jazz musicians work together. In particular, his collection “The Basketball of Tao”, which appeared in The Scream Online, looks at how the communication, improvisation, and cooperation inherent in jazz, especially free jazz, can be a blueprint for better living. He has previously performed with Edward “Kidd” Jordan, one of the members of the French American Peace Ensemble. The new piece looks at the importance of France in American culture and the importance of jazz in French culture. At the same time, it explores the special historical and cultural relationship between the two countries within the concept of the jazz ensemble, especially the French American Peace Ensemble.
Michael combines an unusual mixture of artistic, technical, and other talents. Besides his jazz-poetry, he is a video technology consultant and a flower gardener. His full-yard garden in Clintonville is an extremely minor local tourist attraction. His use of technical language in his poetry in the 1980s and 1990s presaged the prevalence of such language in the current popular vocabulary.
Reservations for the French-American Peace Ensemble are available through the Shadowbox Live Box Office by calling 614-416-7625 or on the web at http://www.shadowboxlive.org/shows/the-french-american-peace-ensemble. VIP tables are available. All other tickets are general admission.
Shadowbox Live, the largest resident theatre company in America, offers a hybrid form of entertainment, blending diverse elements such as original sketch comedy, live rock ‘n’ roll, dance theater, and new media into seamless, fast-paced, high energy productions. For an unparalleled live experience, nothing compares to Shadowbox Live.
The Jazz Poetry Ensemble™ is a collaborative ensemble whose mission is to deliver a message of hope, determination and strength that inspires people to work for social justice, equal rights, and human dignity.
Arts for Art, Inc. is a not-for-profit, multi-cultural organization whose purpose is to build awareness and understanding of avantjazz and related expressive movements while encouraging a sense of community amongst artists and their audiences. Their principal activities are the presentation of innovative, creative music, dance, multi-media performances, spoken word, and the exhibition of visual arts and through educational efforts involve a new generation.
The Kate Schulte Foundation is a not-for-profit organization dedicated to providing cultural, educational, and community-building opportunities around the intersection of the arts and social justice.